Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Raw Kale Salad – Mmmm…Tough and Bitter

I realized after watching the finished video for this raw kale salad that I used the words “tough” and “bitter” about a dozen times. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. I used those words because kale is tough and bitter, but when properly prepared, those are valuable assets, not liabilities.

If you slice it thin, and toss it with other tasty treats, the kale mellows out, and serves as a perfect foil for other vegetation. The sweet, wet crunch of raw apple counters the bitterness, and the texture of the leaves elevated from opposite directions by juicy orange and crunchy nuts. It’s quite a scene.

I’m going to do a video for the orange cumin vinaigrette, but in the meantime, the ingredients are listed below. Feel free to copy my salad formula, but this is more of an idea video than an actual recipe. You know what you like, so whatever that is, add it to some raw kale, and see what happens. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 big or 4 small Raw Kale Salads:
1 head green kale
1 persimmon, sliced
1 apple, sliced thin or matchstick cut
2 seedless oranges, cut into segments aka “supremes” (click here for video)
handful of chopped nuts
For the dressing:
1 rounded teaspoon Dijon mustard           
1 rounded teaspoon orange zest
1 tsp cumin, or to taste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar (or white wine or sherry vinegar)
1/3 cup olive oil, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste


Monica said...

It is meant to be chewed by cattle so that is why it is tough. I prefer it cooked .

Marilyn said...

My food wish is No More Kale. Thank you.

Chef John said...

That wish will NOT come true! ;)

Gin said...

> 1/2 red pepper flakes, or to taste<

Okay...but I think I'll have to wait for a video that shows me exactly now to cut a red pepper flake in half. :)

Chef John said...


Gloria - The Internet GADabout said...

I've made kale salads for years - my own recipes, including the dressings. I don't cut the kale; I tear it into bite-size pieces. The trick I've found to not having it be tough is to add the dressing to the torn leaves and get in there with your hands to mix it and (very important) massage it into those leaves. Then let it marinate for at least an hour before adding the other ingredients.

Vicki said...

Love it! I'll give it a try. I make my kale salad by kneading, first a olive oil and then orange juice into the leaves. Then I add what ever ingredients I like, pomegranate seeds, raw quinoa, sunflower seeds. It's a good salad that holds up dressed for a couple of days! Looking forward to your version.

Anonymous said...

Another great way to eat it raw is to squeeze some lemon juice on it and let it wilt down in the acid for a little while, then add a lot of salt, some olive oil, and parmesan. What say you, Mitzewich?

cookinmom said...

Ok, who's going to be the guinea pig on this one?? Let us know!!!

Judy said...

Raw kale just does not scare me. I like kale in green juice drinks (super yummy mixed with ginger and carrot) and I have grazed on it raw just simply sprayed with some Bragg's Liquid Aminos (a non-fermented type of soy sauce--great stuff!)
So, this sounds just lovely to me :)

Unknown said...

Oh awesome! I haven't tried raw kale salad before but this looks great!! Love you chef John!!! In a totally-not-weird across the Internet way!!!

Unknown said...

Great video, as usual! Another way to eat raw kale is with a garlic lemon tahini dressing. They make/sell the stuff at Whole Foods. Outstanding! Check it out and thanks!

Unknown said...

I find kale more delicious when I marinate it in the dressing overnight. Kale is so sturdy it holds up just fine and it will absorb the dressing's flavors and it's raw edge will soften. Heck, I've even eaten leftovers after 3 days in the fridge. You can also steam or blanch it to soften it, but it wilts quickly so if you want it to stay more on the fresh side you don't want it in there for more than a few seconds, and then splash it with cold water immediately so it doesn't wilt. If you have the time, marinating overnight produces a delicious result.

I'm totally going to try this version marinated. Thank you once again Chef John for a new dimension to kale salad with the fruit!

Carol said...

I"m not able to see any of the videos and it already has more than a month! I am very sad! Even the kale :( what's happening?!

Chef John said...

What do u mean, can't see? The video looks fine, and people are obviously seeing it. Maybe your browser?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Rawkale Salad the star of that old b-movie One Million Years B.C?

Birder said...

Carol: it's you. It's working fine for me and everyone else here.

Gloria is right. Massaging and resting is the key to an even more palatable kale. Much like humans, come to think of it.

And finally, kudos to you, Chef John, for taking on something that is healthy as can be. I'm not a fan of bandwagon jumping either, but this has nutritional merit any way you chop (or tear it).

Unknown said...

I eat a lot of kale in the winter, its a typical winter vegatable/dish over here in the Netherlands .'Boerenkool "is Super popular overhere , it's in the top 3 of the typical winter dishes . Its so Dutch: cheap to buy in the winter ,or easy to grow in the late season , winter hard ,super delicious ,ultra healthy.

To lose the bitter taste the kale plant needs to freeze over by mother winter for a few days. nature does its trick : it's sweet ...bitter taste is gone.

You can copy this by putting the leaves in the deep freezer for a day.

Good kale does not need a lot of seasoning , some fresh nutmeg is enough.

Thanks for suporting Kale^^.

redforever said...

I grow my own kale and it is never bitter or tough. I never have to massage the leaves or anything else. I do remove the tough rib down the center, and that is about it.

I think store bought kale has been allowed to grow too long. Any produce that is not picked at its prime will never be as tasty.

For an absolutely delicious recipe, do try this one. This is my go-to recipe for kale salad. It never disappoints and it keeps so well in the fridge. It has edamame beans and chickpeas making it extra nutritious, as well as basil and mint making it extra tasty.


It has garbanzo beans

Unknown said...

almost forgot : here is the recipe for most the ultimate kale dish ever called 'Boerenkool'

(translated from Dutch it means farmers cabbage).
It's is a real old and very polular 1 pot dish.
It's so easy to make and it feeds a big family in the cold winter.

some history:

The dish goes back in our humble calvinistic culinair history as far as the early 1800th century :the introduction and acceptation of the potato from the Americas helped a lot , and kale was brought by the Romans long way before that...and kale was finaly brought to the US by Dutch colonist.
Full circle.

*ingredients for 4 persons*
(from metric to the outdated system )

to make the basic mash:

2.2 pound cleaned mash potatoes.

some hot milk ( full milk , the good stuff )

real butter

salt , pepper and fresh nutmeg to taste.
don't over do it , keep it basic and simple.

the rest:

1.3 pound cleaned not to fine shopped kale( like 2 times bigger than in the chefs video) , we like it rough.

+/- 1/2 pound raw pork belly ( you can also do salted bacon , but raw is cheaper and better ) chopped in small blocks (1/3" by 1/3")

A big home made meatball in gravy ( add your own recipe ) or a Dutch smoked sauer sausage ( hard to find in the US i think )


big high pot
and a big frying pan
a masher

here we go: make the mash in the big high pot with the warm milk and butter and spices..,you know how i think ,and keep it warm, dont burn it please, keep it in the closed pot, it's a 1 pot dish.
In the meantime fry the dised pork to perfection in his own fat , soft in the middle and some crisp on the outside.
Add only the fried pork to the mash but not the fat , the fat goes in the premade meatball and gravy experience.
straight after that add the fresh kale on top of the mash , don't start mixing or mashing only close the lid fast , we wanna keep the heat in there.
Wait 2 a 3 minutes , mash it to perfection , dont go to far , no baby food ..it's hard work i know.

serve it like this:

the pork makes you eat it really fast , like 5 minutes orso^^


redforever said...

I forgot to mention that I add a bit of thinly sliced red onion to the kale salad that I mentioned in my post above. I also sprinkle over some feta cheese when I serve it.

Anonymous said...

I had some left-over kale from making soup this weekend and made a salad with it inspired by this one. I used half an apple and orange, some grapes, a little bit of kiwi (because I had it) and some almond slices, and dressed it with a basic balsamic vinigarette. I've never eaten raw "adult" kale before and was quite surprised that it made a very nice salad. A bit more bite than lettuce, but altogether quite mellow...

And, I actually appreciated the technique on removing the leaf from the rib -- I always used a knife but this was much easier, obviously! I was surprised by how well that worked.

Thanks for the inspiration and technique Chef John!

cookinmom said...

I like the way you think outside the box!!!

TheRealJnani said...

At what point do you serve this to the food?

Jen said...

MASSAGE. That's what finally got my family to eat kale. I have had not absolutely horrible cooked kale out, but that's the nicest thing I can say about it.

However, once I started massaging my kale, I have converted at least a dozen people to kale.

Just add a step between chopping and adding other ingredients. I massage it with some olive oil and a wee bit of salt. Massage it until its color changes to darker, it's softer, and it tastes almost sweet!

Not only edible, but delicious, which is not a word I've have ever used with kale before.

I usually toast some pecan pieces, throw in fruit on hand or use craisins or raisins and a bit of onion. I usually just add some flavored vinegar to complete the dressing with the olive oil already used.

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John..This is the first time i've posted a comment on your blog but I just was so thrilled when I saw your Kale salad post on the Arsenio Hall show two nights ago! Did you know your famous? Love watching these videos..you have taught me alot Thank you!

Unknown said...

This salad is fantastic! I made it last night with a few tweaks - I subbed in toasted sunflower seeds for the nuts, and added a bit of mayo and sugar to the dressing to get a bit more creamy and sweet in it. When they're in season, I'd contemplate either cherry halves or plum slices in place of the persimmons, and I can't wait for persimmon season to put those in it. Fantastic stuff!

Unknown said...

I am a proclaimed kale HATER, and I thought this salad was nothing short of a miracle. I've always liked the idea of kale, until I actually put it in my mouth and started dry heaving.
The cutting up of the kale, with the mix of sweet fruit, and acidic dressing makes this so damn delicious. Chef John you are da bomb!! I actually like kale now.

Unknown said...

You just made a kale hater into a kale lover. SO AMAZING. I don't even like salads and I thought this was so great. Thanks!!